With the recent pandemic still in full effect, it’s getting more and more difficult to plan for weddings in bigger venues. For some people, even if they could plan for a bigger wedding, planning a small wedding at home just seems like the best financial and personal decision to allow only close family members to be in attendance.
Planning a small wedding at home doesn’t have to be complicated, and with the right ideas, you can plan a wedding that is cost-efficient and memorable! Below are some ideas you can use to plan a wedding at home and be able to enjoy every moment of your big day!
1. Stick To Your Budget
Before you start planning a small wedding at home, the first step will be to set up an initial budget to see how much you can afford for a wedding. This includes the actual ceremony itself, costs of materials to set up your wedding, food, and entertainment for the wedding reception, and costs for any wedding specialties like cakes and wedding dresses. It’s important to take a look at your bank account statements and ensure you have enough to pay for the size and wedding you want! If you feel you might not be able to afford a small backyard wedding, consider saving up for a few more weeks or months beforehand so you can splurge later on!
2. Get Help From Family If Needed
It can be difficult to plan out invitations, know what goes into planning a wedding, and even know where to buy the right food and materials. If you’re planning a small wedding at home, you can get help from a professional wedding planner, or better yet from your own family and friends! Although wedding planners can be amazing at their jobs, they can come at a high price you might not be willing to spend. Fortunately, the right family and friends can be able to take the stress off of wedding planning and even help you network with vendors for your wedding. It’s always a good idea to have a strong support system when planning a small wedding at home.
3. Prioritize Expenses
We mentioned that you might not want to hire an expensive wedding planner. A wedding planner is just one of many expenses you will have to pay for when planning a small wedding at home. Although you have a budget set up, it’s also a good idea to prioritize your expenses according to your personal preferences. Do you want to spend on outdoor living space designers to beautify your backyard, or on an expensive wedding dress? Do you want to spend more on food or drinks for your guests? These are just some of the choices you will have to make, so it’s best to sit down beforehand and begin making a list of priorities for your wedding and budget.
4. Increase Curb Appeal
If you’re planning a small wedding at home, chances are you’ll want to be able to take pictures in front of your home after or during your wedding reception. Because of this, you should invest in ways to increase the curb appeal of your home, such as doing weed control on your front lawn or doing a quick paint job to the outside of your home. You can even limit photography (if there is any) to a nicer area of your home, such as your front porch, and focus on improving only that part of your home!
5. Consider DIY Invitations
Invitations can quickly turn expensive, with the average cost of wedding invitations exceeding the hundreds of dollars when done professionally. However, you can easily do your own invitations, which are crucial in order to receive an accurate count of wedding attendees. Wedding invitations can be done easily at home with beautiful stationery, and can be kept by guests as a memory for your special day!
6. Prepare A Small Menu
Most wedding guests want to attend a wedding that has great food on the menu. Fortunately, planning a small wedding at home means you don’t have to go all-out on an expensive list of menu items. In fact, it’s better to stick to a smaller menu so you can focus on the quality, not the quantity of the food. Not only will having a smaller menu reduce the stress of feeding guests, but it will also save you money when shopping for ingredients!
7. Consider Hors D’oeuvres
Who doesn’t love tasty dips, deviled eggs, or charcuterie boards and small sandwiches? These finger foods, known as Hors D’ouevres, can be absolutely delicious and filling for wedding guests. Best of all, they take little prep work when compared to fully cooked meals. If you’re planning a small wedding at home, consider using only finger foods to keep your guests full and happy!
8. Prepare Your Reception Area
When your guests come in, they might be wondering where to go in your home, who to greet, and when the events will take place. It’s best to set up a reception area either at the front of your home or another entrance to guide guests and inform them on the wedding. You can also use this area to take pictures, have guests sign in, and also display menu items that might contain allergens (in case any of your guests need that information). Furthermore, a reception area can make your home feel more professionally designed and give it the feel of a true wedding venue!
9. Keep A Guest Logbook
Speaking of having your guests sign in, it’s important to keep a logbook of all attendees in your wedding. Not only can this serve as a beautiful keepsake after the wedding, but it can also let you know who has been in your home in case of an emergency. You can set up a guest logbook in your reception area alongside decorative pens to add a little flair to your wedding!
10. Set Up Decorative Lights
String lights are by far one of the most popular choices for planning a small wedding at home. They are not only beautiful and photogenic, but they also emit a dim light and glow perfect for outdoor summer nights. Best of all, string lights are battery-powered, meaning they can be set up without having an outlet nearby. They are relatively cheap and can be bought in bulk for your wedding day. Set them up on your front porch, patio, and throughout your backyard for some added beauty.
11. Hire A Local DJ
Every wedding needs entertainment, and there’s no better form of entertainment than a local DJ! When planning a small wedding at home, consider hiring a solo musician or DJ that is local to your area, or even a friend or family member. Local solo musicians are usually affordable and are talented enough to keep the fun going at your wedding with minimal space for equipment. DJ’s can also take requests and keep your guests entertained all night long!
12. Turn Off Automatic Sprinklers
It would be disastrous if your guests suddenly got soaked from your sprinkler system! It would be even more disastrous if they had to attend a wedding with dead grass all around them! Fortunately, with the help of garden sprinkler services, you can make sure your back and front yards stay free of dead grass, and also get help for setting up your sprinkler system on your big day.
13. Stick To DIY Flower Arrangements
Flower arrangements are beautiful, however, they can be expensive during your wedding. You can buy flowers in bulk and make your own flower arrangements to place as centerpieces on your tables. Other options include using beautiful succulents, cacti, and even fake plants that can still be just as beautiful (and more affordable) than real ones.
14. Use Decorative Table Cloths
When planning a small wedding at home, it’s best to buy foldable tables and chairs for your party. Although these can be unsightly at first, covering them with beautiful table cloths is an affordable and effective solution. Table clothes and chair coverings can both be used and easily stored away after your wedding, as can foldable furniture too!
15. Re-design Your Backyard
If your backyard is outdated, has various overgrown weeds and shrubs, or is just plain messy, simple landscaping can go a long way. Re-designing your backyard allows you to entertain guests and set up your wedding confidently. Get the help of landscape designers to help you spruce up your backyard before the big day.
16. Fix Your Deck Beforehand
If you’re hosting a small wedding and have a deck, it’s important to get help from a general contractor to fix your patio or deck before guests come. A deck can become unstable from years of wear and tear, cause splints from old wood, and need to be maintained properly. A general contractor can help not only fix your deck and porch but also remodel it and make it look like new again before your wedding!
17. Utilize Your Trees
Trees can be beautiful backdrops to any wedding. Consider placing trees in your backyard before the wedding, such as small lemon or cherry trees, to add a hint of natural beauty to your wedding. You can also invest in the help of some tree trimmers to spruce up existing trees, and then hang decorative lights in them for an other-worldly wedding area!
18. Get Rid Of Outdoor Pests
No one wants to attend a wedding with lots of mosquitoes, flies, and pests around! If you’re planning a small wedding at home, it’s essential to get the help of an arborist to get rid of pests in your trees, or even exterminators to get rid of bigger pests around your home. If you’re having active issues with pests and rodents in your home, make sure these are solved before your wedding reception comes!
19. Consider An Outdoor Tent
Outdoor tents can not only provide a safe area to keep away the elements, but they can also provide shade on hot days and be the perfect backdrop for any outdoor wedding! Best of all, many outdoor tents nowadays come in a variety of different designs, so you can choose which tent you want to rent on your special day. If you’re renting a large outdoor tent, consider adding trees inside of your tent and getting tree trimming done on them so they look like indoor plants! This is just one way of using outdoor tents to your advantage.
20. Use Beautiful Tea Lights
Candles can be beautiful, but they can easily be blown out due to high winds. Electric tea lights are battery-powered and can be used in virtually any setting. Best of all, they are cost-efficient, add a beautiful glow, and can be taken home as mementos after your reception.
21. Set Up An Outside Bar
If you’re planning a small wedding at home, consider setting up a professional bar area outside in your backyard. This allows guests to stay in the immediate area without having to get up constantly for drinks. Bar areas can be set up easily with bar carts, buckets of ice, and of course, a bartender nearby!
22. Consider Re-Paving Your Backyard
If your backyard is cracked, has loose gravel, or has old brick or pavement covering it, you should consider the help of a concrete contractor. They can help assess how much work your backyard will need done and have it re-paved so it can be ready for your wedding day. This allows your guests to be free of trip hazards too.
Preparing For a Memorable Wedding
Small weddings at home can be some of the most beautiful and affordable! With the right ideas and tools, planning a small wedding at home is incredibly easy! Follow our ideas above to make your wedding memorable and enjoyable.